Sustainable wardrobe challenge – Becky (Notes from the sewing room).

This is the next in my series of wardrobe challenge posts. The first posts are published in the blogger network section of my blog.

In this series of blog posts I have invited fellow sewists to create a new outfit from one of my patterns and gifted fabric from my shop with the following brief:

The Challenge.

Choose a Bobbins and Buttons pattern and fabric from the online shop selection to make it in. Choose an item/s of unloved clothing or unused textiles from your home to create a new outfit.

The outfit can be for you or a member of your family.

The pattern can be from the range or one created for Love Sewing magazine. It can be hacked or adapted to suit your requirements.

The unloved clothing or textiles could be just bought back into circulation by becoming part of a new outfit or upcycled into something to wear with the new piece or as part of the new piece. It might be clothing or table linen, curtains or other unused textiles. Think as creatively as you like!

Sustainable challenge Bobbins and Buttons

Hello Becky can you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your sewing. How did you start sewing?

Hi my name is Becky and I love to sew. I’ve been sewing for around 7 years and have now made much of my everyday wardrobe. I have both an Instagram page and YouTube channel called Notes from the Sewing Room where I share many of my handmade projects, so feel free to check these out.

I like to make outfits for me, my little boy and a few bits and pieces as gifts too.

Sewing your own clothes can be everything from a practical solution to a mindful, creative practice. How do you feel about the process?

Sewing means a lot to me. It has become a way to relax and have some ‘me time’. Although I don’t have lots of time to dedicate to my hobby having a toddler, I do fit in a bit of sewing a couple of evenings a week where I can, or 10/20 mins here and there in between other house-related activities.

Making my own clothes means I can be creative as well as making unique projects that fit my body in exactly the fabric / patterns I want. I highly recommend sewing to everybody, I wish I had started to sew things lots earlier.

Sustainable challenge Bobbins and Buttons

When you need or want a new item of clothing what are the deciding factors for whether to make or buy?

I tend to buy things like tights, underwear and ready to wear cardigans, but most other things I try to think about how I can make them if time allows.

I enjoy choosing my own fabrics, and in some cases up-cycling old garments into new projects to give them a new lease of life.

I find up-cycling really fun, and it adds another layer of creativity to sewing projects. I sometimes think I enjoy up-cycling clothes more than making projects from flat pieces of fabric purchased from a bolt.

Sustainable challenge Bobbins and Buttons

Please tell us about the outfit you have chosen to create and the unloved items you have used.

I recently had an accident with dying my husband’s rugby top a different colour in the washing machine. The collar was turned pink as I washed it with some red items, but I didn’t want this piece of clothing to go too waste, so I decided to use it to add to my latest sewing project using a Bobbins and Buttons Sewing Pattern.

 

 

I cut the rugby shirt into flat pieces of fabric and then used it to create the cuffs, hemband and hood lining for the George Hoody. The George Hoody is a sewing pattern for kids, I made the age 2.

The outer fabric is a French terry in a bottle green colour. The rugby top fabric is navy blue and burgundy, so I thought these two materials worked well together.

Sustainable challenge Bobbins and Buttons

The clothing industry is responsible for many problems from ethical to environmental impact. Do you think sewing your own clothing can offer some solutions?

I love to upcycle clothing and use up scraps of fabric from other sewing projects. I think there are lots of ways we can turn fabric scraps or old garments into new things to wear or to use in the house such as cushions, hot water bottle covers, throws, make up bags or tote bags.

We can all do our bit in terms of the environmental impact of sewing or buying ready to wear garments. Sometimes projects may just need a little extra consideration of how they can be constructed from fabric scraps or by using old garments.

Sustainable challenge Bobbins and Buttons

One of the issues I often hear about making children’s clothing is about the cost and time taken when children grow so quickly. What are your thoughts on this?

Yes, this can be an issue. I try to make things for my little boy that have a bit of ‘growing room’ in them meaning he can wear them for a bit longer. I made the George Hoody in age 2 which is a bit big for him at the moment, but this means he can wear it now and hopefully over the next few months too.

When William has outgrown the hoody I will try to re-gift it to a friend who has a younger child to use again. I have bought many second-hand clothes for William as I don’t like the idea of clothes going to waste when there is nothing wrong with them.

Sustainable challenge Bobbins and Buttons

Do you think it is possible to make children’s clothing sustainable?

Yes, I like to use fabric scraps as I have in my George Hoody, or larger pieces of fabric left over from outfits I have made or myself. In some cases, I have up-cycled a couple of kids jumpers out of a couple of old men’s polo shirts, each making the projects as environmentally friendly as I can.

Sustainable challenge Bobbins and Buttons

What do you do with items of clothing that no longer fit or serve a purpose?

I either gift them to friends to use for their children or I try to re-use the fabric to make other new projects.

Sustainable challenge Bobbins and Buttons

Do your little boy like to get involved with what you make for him?

My little boy is a bit young at the moment to get involved in my sewing projects but as soon as he is able to join in, I would love to get him involved with the making process of my future projects. We enjoy drawing and crafting together already so I think he will enjoy sewing in the future too.

Sustainable challenge Bobbins and Buttons

How do you manage unsuitable or impractical ideas?

I try to break sewing projects down into smaller stages and try to work out how I can do each section of the making process. This allows me to think about the fabric needed, how long the sewing process will take and if the end project will be useful to us to wear or use at home in some way.

Sustainable challenge Bobbins and Buttons

Do you have any tips or project ideas for using up scraps of fabric?

So many things can be made from scrap fabric such as:

-tote bags
-cushions
-kids clothes
-patchwork projects like quilts or even pieces of clothing like a patchwork jacket
-small gifts like make up bags – join smaller pieces of material together to get the right size you need / want to make

Sustainable challenge Bobbins and Buttons

Where can readers find out more about you?

You find at Notes from the Sewing Room on Instagram you YouTube.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog today, I hope you like my upcycling ideas, and you like my latest George Hoody too.

I really enjoyed making the George hoody and plan to keep re-tracing the sewing pattern to make in in bigger sizes as my little boy grows.

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Julia Claridge

I was about 6 or 7 years old when I had my first go on a sewing machine, it was an old hand crank machine that my mum used with her patients, she was an occupational therapist. I still vividly remember watching with amazement as the tiny perfectly formed stitches were created as I turned the handle. I Grew up in the 70’s and 80’s when buying clothes was less affordable and dressmaking was an answer to updating your wardrobe more regularly. My own mother was a talented dressmaker who made most of my clothes and my sisters clothes as well as a many for herself. I soon got involved with making my clothes, I loved the whole experience of picking out fabrics, trims and a pattern to create a new outfit, then going home to make a new garment or outfit. When it came to leaving school I visited a careers advisor who asked what I wanted to do next. My answer was ..Sew! Read more...

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